Friday, February 15, 2008

Tri-Cities Unity

(This is my home town, my people & my church - God has been very good to us! This truly is a new day. Read and be encouraged... Tom)

Members from 25 Churches Across Tri-Cities Gather to Mark Period of Fasting and Unity
By Sara Schilling, Tri-Cities Herald staff writer

Sarah Westergren of West Richland prays along with around 2,000 other Christians to songs of praise and worship that were performed by a band composed of members from various local churches during the final prayer meeting at Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick.

Video: Multi-church prayer meeting

Almost everyone stood. Some people leaned on canes or chairs for support. Some people held young children in their arms.The men and women from at least 25 Christian churches throughout the Tri-Cities recited the Bible verse Psalm 133, projected on large screens at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!" they said.

Two thousand voices. One prayer.

The recent prayer meeting marked the end of a 40-day period of fasting and seeking God's guidance that was meant to unite Tri-City churches across denominational lines. A small group of pastors got the idea for the fast and encouraged church members to give up something -- candy, TV, text messaging -- and devote their extra time to God.

The weekly prayer meetings started in January. The first one drew about 450 people. Sunday's meeting was so big that most of the 2,100 chairs set up at the convention center were filled. "It's pretty exciting," Pastor Jon Brandstetter said of the turnout at the events. He's from Columbia Foursquare Church in Richland. The pastors who organized the series plan to keep meeting and seeking God's direction. Other pastors are welcome to join in. The next meeting is Feb. 20.

"There's a lot of excitement about what's next, how (we're) going to follow up on this," said Pastor David Parker of Central United Protestant Church in Richland. There was a buzz in the air Sunday as people took their seats in the rows of chairs. "It's bringing all the churches together and praying for the Tri-Cities ... That's the reason we're here -- the hope of Christ," said Roger Olson, 54, of Richland. He attends Bethel Church in Richland.

A few rows over from Olson was a youth group of 34 students from World Life Christian Center in Kennewick. Some of the teens swayed to the praise music and others moved up front near the stage. "It's been awesome, a time of renewal and laying before the throne and seeing what God wants us to do," said youth leader Quontica Sparks, 30, of Pasco.

The crowd was diverse. There were little kids and old men and women with gray hair. There were people in cowboy boots and others in Converse sneakers. One estimate had members of 50 different churches in the audience. The meeting started at 7:14 p.m., a nod to the Bible verse 2 Chronicles 7:14, which is a call to repentance and prayer. Many of the seats were filled a half-hour before the service began. That also happened at other meetings during the series, Parker said.

"It's just a sign that we had struck a deep chord with Christians in the Tri-Cities. People were really hungry for this. I think part of what people were really hungry for was a sense of crossing lines and connecting and unifying," he said.A worship band with musicians from seven churches played upbeat praise songs as people danced and waved flags.The band finished the 25-minute set with a slower song that went, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, our God reigns."

At the end of the song, the drums, keyboard and guitars were silent and the sound of a cappella voices singing in harmony filled the room. The crowd split into groups of three or four people for more prayer. Some sat together with their heads bowed; others stood and held hands. "We pray that those who don't know you, Lord, would come to know you," one man said, with his eyes closed tight. "All these things, Father, we lay upon you," said another man, praying with a group across the aisle.

A woman rocked back and forth on her feet as she talked to God. "We love our brothers and sisters. Father, we want more of your presence. We want more of everything you have for us," she said. Sunday's service had more singing, and some people offered prophetic messages they believed God was asking them to share. The group prayed again, all together. They stood and renounced arrogance and pride. They prayed for cooperation between the cities. "We loose the spirit of truth and light and love," the 2,000 voices said, "that many may come to faith in the one true living Lord Jesus Christ."

© 2008 Tri-City Herald, Associated Press & Other Wire Services


  1. It was a great evening. It had to be God to gather so many pastors, churches and people to worship God and seek His face.

  2. This is so amazin! I have been hearing bis and pieces of whats been happening. I can't wait to come home and see the fruit!

    Praying with you

  3. First of all, Happy Birthday! I didn’t get a chance to give you a personal wish: [
    Thanks for posting this article, and the video. I had no idea they even took one. It gives you a real sense of the excitement in the air. The heavens have surely open up over this region, and I for one am going in deep. Luke 5:4-7 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Push out into deep water, and lower your nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we have worked hard all night and caught nothing. But if you say so, I'll lower the nets." After the men had done this, they caught so many fish that the nets began to tear. So they signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. They came and filled both boats until the boats began to sink.

  4. I feel so privileged to have been a part of this.

    I love the fellowship and unity that we experienced, but like A Woman Who Is, I believe the deepest fruit is yet to come. Something fantastic is being birthed. Utterly fantastic.

  5. To be there was one thing but to see what is to come is another! There is so much more we have just barely scratched the tip of this move of the Spirit!

  6. hey - I think that's Noah right on Tyler's right!!